High blood pressure: Lifestyle changes to reduce dangers
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, means your blood pressure is consistently too high, leaving your heart working harder than it should.
Around one in three adults in the UK suffer from high blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK.
Cardiologist Dr Ernst von Schwarz, author of The Secrets of Immortality, told Parade: “The worst thing someone can do if they have high blood pressure is not take high blood pressure seriously enough.
“People might say, ‘It doesn’t hurt, so why should I care?’.
“Therefore, we call it a ‘silent killer,’ because it damages all our blood vessels, the heart, the brain and the kidneys if left untreated.”
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Dr Cheng-Han Chen, an interventional cardiologist, who also spoke to Parade backed this.
“The worst thing that someone with high blood pressure can do is to not monitor it regularly,” the doctor added.
Whether you buy a home blood pressure cuff or get your reading measured at the GP office, it is “essential” to keep track of your levels if you suffer from hypertension.
Dr Chen explained that this could give you an opportunity to take a proactive approach to monitor how your lifestyle choices, such as exercise and diet, affect your reading.
Furthermore, regularly monitoring your blood pressure could help your physicians decide if and when to adjust your medications.
The reason why it’s important to keep an eye on your blood pressure comes down to the condition’s ability to hike your risk of serious health problems, ranging from heart attacks to strokes.
Over time, the strain applied by blood pressure on your blood vessels and the heart can cause the heart muscle to weaken and work less efficiently.
Worryingly, this process doesn’t raise any red flags, leaving you completely unaware of it happening.
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Dr Chen added that high blood pressure doesn’t only spell bad news for your cardiovascular health.
The doctor said: “[Hypertension] can also cause problems throughout the body such as kidney failure, vision loss, cognitive impairment, dementia and sexual dysfunction.”
Therefore, it’s crucial to keep your blood pressure reading within the healthy range.
Lifestyle changes to lower high blood pressure reading
From a healthy diet to regular exercise, there are many lifestyle tweaks that could keep your blood pressure in check.
The NHS recommends eating a low-fat, high-fibre diet that is rich in plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
However, you should also limit your salt intake to no more than six grams of salt a day, as the popular seasoning is considered the “single biggest cause” of blood pressure, according to Blood Pressure UK.
While exercise can raise your blood pressure while you’re doing it, regular physical movement can help to reduce your reading, according to the health service.
Furthermore, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol and caffeine in moderation could also help.
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